Category: Evidence for Policy

How can researchers influence policy when their work lies outside the political mainstream?

The premise of postgrowth research is that environmentally sustainable wellbeing should replace GDP growth as the cornerstone of public policy. This interest in a transition beyond the existing parameters of ‘political reality’ means such research face…

Quick, but not dirty – Can rapid evidence reviews reliably inform policy?

The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented and time critical demand for policy relevant evidence syntheses and in so doing demonstrated how timely evidence reviews can shape policymaking. As the policy crisis of COVID-19 recedes, research is underw…

Descriptive statistics are essential to making complex analyses useful.

In response to the ever-growing volume of data, quantitative social research has become increasingly dependent on complex inferential methods. In this post, Kevin R. Murphy argues that whilst these methods can provide insights, they should not detract …

After half a century of ‘wicked’ policy problems, are we any better at managing them?

Since the term was popularised by Rittel and Webber in their seminal article, Dilemmas in a general theory of planning, the concept of ‘wicked problems’, or those that are resistant to optimal solutions, has posed a significant challenge to the creatio…

Policy citation databases offer new ways to understand the impact of social sciences research

Tracking the policy impact of academic research is notoriously difficult, especially when academics are not directly involved in policymaking processes. However, the recent development of tools to index and organise online policy documents has cast new…

Book Review: Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic Society by Zeynep Pamuk

In Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic Society, Zeynep Pamuk reimagines the relationship between democratic politics and scientific expertise, exploring the possibility of new political institutions that would make experts more a…

2021 In Review: Evidence for Policy

The need to link research based evidence to policy has arguably been more urgent and important in the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic than it has ever been before. In the first of a series of review posts, we have brought together a selection o…

Connecting research to policy is complex, unpredictable and time consuming – so should we expect academics to do it on their own?

Earlier in the year the chief executive of UKRI, Dame Ottoline Leyser, argued that a research culture that prizes the figure of the ‘lone genius’ has stifled productive collaboration. Drawing on the experience of UCL’s Faculty of Engineering Sciences P…

Sociable (social) science – Crafting new relationships between research and government

The civil service represents a significant community of analysts and researchers, but their work can at times seem independent from that taking place within academia. Ben Hepworth describes how the UK’s Ministry of Justice has worked to reframe its rel…